Stutes not limited coming off shoulder surgery

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies pitchers and catchers held their first official workout Wednesday at Carpenter Complex.

Most of the attention centered on Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz, who both spoke with reporters after the workout. Halladay is trying to bounce back following one of the worst seasons of his career. Ruiz spoke about his 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant.

But right-hander Michael Stutes also spoke about his comeback. He missed most of last season following shoulder debridement surgery.

Stutes said he threw a bullpen session in November just to see how he felt following the June 26 procedure -- it went well -- before picking up his throwing program about Jan. 5 or 6. He said he has thrown eight bullpen sessions since and is not limited in any way as camp opens.

"It was kind of an immediate thing," he said of the improvement following surgery. "Three, four days after surgery, I was already [raising my arm] up over my shoulder. I haven't had any sort of setbacks or anything like that, so it's been pretty encouraging ever since I started throwing again. It kind of feels like a brand new shoulder. I don't have the clicking and catching that I was feeling last year."

If Stutes pitches as well as he feels in these offseason bullpen sessions, he should be a top candidate to win one of the three remaining jobs in the bullpen. Stutes went 6-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 57 appearances in 2011. He also has the ability to throw multiple innings, which the Phillies would seem to need if they don't take a prototypical long man.

"I'm really excited about it," Stutes said. "I miss being out there, facing hitters and stuff like that. I'm really looking forward to getting out there and facing that first guy."